England team to face Wales

Will Wales be quaking in their boots at Martin Johnson’s latest selection of England’s finest players?

Mike Tindall returns, whilst the Armitage family dream appears to have been very short-lived. Steffon is dropped from the squad, replaced by Joe Worsley at openside.

England team
15. Delon Armitage (London Irish)
14. Paul Sackey (London Wasps)
13. Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
12. Riki Flutey (London Wasps)
11. Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
10. Andy Goode (Leicester Tigers)
9. Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)
1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
2. Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps)
4. Steve Borthwick (Saracens, captain)
5. Nick Kennedy (London Irish)
6. James Haskell (London Wasps)
7. Joe Worsley (London Wasps)
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)

16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
17. Julian White (Leicester Tigers)
18. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
19. Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
20. Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
21. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
22. Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)

15 thoughts on “England team to face Wales

  1. Disgusted! Foden for starters is a form player and for him to not be in the squad when he covers SH and FB is a bewildering decision for me! If Johnson is so determined to have Goode in the team then why not have him at 12 and Cipriani / Flood at 10! Or vice-versa. For me Ricky Flutey simply aint good enough. Have to say that Haskell aside I cant see the welsh back row having too many butterflies in their stomachs facing Easter and Worsley. Cannot see us competing at the breakdown at all. Where is the inventiveness in this backline going to come from – paceless and unimaginative in the centres (What Tait has to do to get a game i dont know- was our best ba ack at RWC2007 and that break against SA in the final couldve swung it for us) and as we know england cannot complete a phase from ruck to wing so Sackey, Cueto and Amrintage will be ineffective!! Id suggest Mr Shanklin, Robinson, Hook, Henson, Williams etc will be licking their lips at the destructive running lines they will be able to utilise. Sadly a fairly uninspiring bench for me aswell- why not put Sinbad there- again can cover centre and wing. As for the continued inclusion of Borthwick- beggars belief. Can only think its Johnsons pride having backed him that means he wont drop him now. Tindall, Ellis, Vickery, Goode, Haskall could all captain if needs be. Im off to william hill to put 20quid on wales by 25points!! Sad day as im an england fan!!

  2. Why on earth has Flood been brought on to the bench for Geraghty? What is he going to change when he comes on? Geraghty’s a game-breaker who scares defences. Wales aren’t exactly going to be overly concerned when they look up and see that England have taken off one slow, limited, one-dimensional fly-half and brought on to replace him another slow, limited, one-dimensional fly-half.

    You can see what he’s trying to do in picking Worsley for Armitage although it is harsh on the lad. Johnson’s decided that we won’t compete with Wales on the floor and instead need to be physical at the breakdown and blast through them to try to slow down their supply of quick ball. Fine, can’t argue with the tactic, but putting in Worsley is not going to compensate for the fact that we’ve got the most lightweight second row imaginable. If Shaw was to come in for Borthwick then it might make sense and leave Kennedy to dominate the lineout.

    Not a massive Worsley fan but let’s hope he can bring some really aggression and physicality on Saturday.

  3. I cannot understand the Gerharty/ Flood / Cipriani issue either Stuart. Does the fact Flood plays for Leicester have anything to do with it do you think, where as Gerharty plays for the unfashionable London Irish?? Wales manage to Fit Hook, Henson, Stephen Jone, Shanklin etc into fluent squad backlines yet we seem reluctant to even try to do anything with our supposed ‘talented’ players!

  4. I’m proud to say I’m English, but think I’ll be hiding myself away on saturday. Flood should never have been included in the team, especially ahead of Geraghty (even with his stupid mistake last week). He’s not on form (not sure he’s ever actually been on form?) Our pack our gonna have a very hard day at work and will probably be made to look like amateurs. And as for our packs, well ther’re going to making a hell of a lot of tackles! Think Steffon Armitage is unlucky not to be included as I thought he had a fairly good game last week. Why do we insist on changing the team every bloody week! No wonder we can’t develop and get results!!! I seriously hope I’m proved wrong!!!!!!!

  5. Tommy , never hide yourself away if I’d done that every time Wales hit a slump I wouldn’t have gone outside the door for about twenty years !

    I don’t expect a 25 point win as I believe England will give a stubborn backs to the wall performance , but I do expect a Welsh win against that lot – by a converted try score will do . I think that’s part of the English problem that their ambition might extend to just that.

    Johnson looks more and more like a man out of his depth here -looking scary in the stand doesn’t have the same effect as when on the field.

    Assuming the rest of the season for England goes as anticipated the higher ups at the RFU should dust out their cheque book and go looking for Jake White . THe difficulty I see it is that Johnson’s status is such it’ll take another season before the impetus for this is there.

  6. I scanned the team news on the bbc web site before leaving for work this morning, and spent my commute seething and incredulous – have to get this off my chest before I think about actually doing any work. I wouldn’t analyze and criticize selections so much if the performances were there.

    Firstly, what is up with Croft? I would put him way ahead of Worsley. I know he is primarily a 6, but Worsley at 7 is even more preposterous. Croft is the sort of player the Welsh would fear. Worsley might have a role to play in a late-sub impact role, but has rarely been effective in a starting England XV.

    And then Goode. Many on this blog speculated about him only having a short term role to play for the Italy game, steadying the ship before unleashing Cipriani. There was some sense in that. But he had a pretty poor game, particularly kicking, and has retained his place. Geraghty’s yellow was pretty dumb, but with only a few minutes to show what he could do, it’s not that surprising he got carried away. And replacing him on the bench with Pattacake Flood?! I don’t get it.

    And talking of Pattacakes, why is Sackey in the team!? His defence is weak, and he’s going to be humiliated. Can’t remember the last time he played well for England. Monye or Strettle would make much more sense.

    And finally, to echo the thoughts of Trinidad Exile, why can’t we give Tait a chance? Why do we stick by guys like Sackey and Borthwick but not even give Tait – one of the few players that the opposition will fear with ball in hand – a chance?

    Pontylad, I admire your humility, but it’s going to be big bro.

  7. i agree with some of the comments about the bench, but the starting xv is a little better. the forwards just need some bloody-minded grit last seen in the world cup quarter and semi. why didn’t they go the whole hog and get ronnie regan at hooker?! will goode be this weekend’s bergamasco? will the underperformers from last saturday, especially numbers 1-4 and 12, 14 and 15, be motivated by all the criticism and the confident home team/ fans and give it a real crack? i hope so, but i still think we’ll be short…

    what do the bookies think? for this weekend they give handicap starts of 10-12 (england); 15 or 16 (scotland) and 12-14 (italy)…

  8. Remember when the Welsh were outplaying us in the RWC in 2003? It all turned around when we brought on the wise old head Mike Catt though didn’t it? Who have we got this time though – Toby Flood! Just hearing that name must strike fear in to the Welsh mustn’t it?

    Here’s a question I’d love to know the answer to – if Geraghty gets the chop after one admittedly very stupid yellow, exactly how many yellows does Haskell need to get before he gets dropped? And let’s not forget all his other needless penalties where he gets away without a card.

    He makes Moody look like a saint. Talented player I know, but that’s no excuse. If you’re going to have discipline, you have to be consistent with it.
    He was lucky his card on Saturday didn’t cost us, and it will do against a better side (or even just one that’s got a scrum half).

    Worsley? Oh please. Has a worse player ever had 50+ caps? He always gets picked for his tackling and for his precious experience (at which point the selectors forget the fact that his caps were mostly picked up off the bench or as part of a crap England team that won nothing). He never delivers his Wasps form for England, and never will.

    Admittedly, Steffon Armitage wasn’t great, but it’s not good to bring players straight in to the XV and then drop them completely from the 22. That just reflects badly on the management. They should know their players and if they’re not sure if they’re good enough they should be used off the bench first. Armitage’s confidence will be knackered now.

    Not looking forward to Saturday, but let’s just hope Ryan Jones is passed fit…….and gets picked at scrum half – it’s our only hope!

  9. What is johnson thinking! the changes he has made are ludacris. for a start off if he was going to play cipriani in the autumn which he did then he was taking a risk on a young,inexperienced player which didn’t exactly work out. he was charged down a few times and made a few poor decisions but i would still have kept him in the side. He is destructive with ball in hand and is an extremly good kicker both in hand and off the cone. him alone brings creativity and finese to the back line like he does week in and out at wasps. he shouls never have been dropped. much like Geraghty, he is fast and creative and willing. flutey is none of those isjohnson picking his back line for defence? then mathew tait at 13, i’m a sale fan and might be abit biased but he has shone at sale this year when he has been fit and is easily a world class centre all he needs is a chance for england. england have a good back 3 and that shouldnt be changed.

    Englands forwards are mostly good the front 3 havent been on their game but when they are they are destructive ball carriers. the second row is in my opinion 1 part good, kennedy is completly dominant in the line out and should stay but borthwick needs to go frankly. Simon Shaw is so much bigger and better at the break down. you might think there would be an issue with captaincy but there is vickery there who is more than capable. the back row forwards should be croft, easter and haskell by far the 3 best back row forwards in england.

    the england backs need to be more creative and pacey, caipriani Gerathy and Tait do that

  10. I think most of my points have already been covered. I’m just getting really worried that Johnno is just too conservative for the job. I’d like to have seen Dean Richards get the role and let Johnno learn the trade at Leicester. Worsley is just a terrible selection.

  11. As before most of the points have been covered but I just wanted to stick my thoughts down as I am, quite frankly, dismayed/angry/incredulous at the team selection.
    Forwards: why oh why oh why is Croft on the bench and not in the starting line up??? Borthwick – rubbish – you just know he will give away a shed load of penalties (lets hope Jones is still a bit off form with his kicking).
    Haskell – well, apart from his stupid yellow last week I thought he had a good game but he has got to sort out his discipline. Kennedy, Easter, Mears, Vuckery – no problems with them
    Scrum Half – look – we all know Ellis will be destroyed by Phillips – he is just soooooooooooo sllllooooooowwwwww – God help us!! Why didn’t Foden get a look in, at least he gets the ball out fast.
    Fly Half – Well, if Goode had had a good kicking game last week you might have thought he was worth a shout, with Cipriani ready to come in. But, frankly, his kicking was crap. And who do we have as the stormtrooper replacement?? Toby Flood. Oh dear…….
    Tindal – hopefully will make a big differnce this week (God knows w=someone needs to) but please give Tait a chance!!!! Sackey, Cueto – good choices I think, especially if the wingers get some service (bugger – that won’t happen will it…..), but Monye and Strettle should have had some sort of look in. Flutey still hasn’t proved himself as far as I can see. Armitage at the back – OK, don’t disagree.
    Bench – where are Cipriani, Geraghty, Foden????
    Bottom line – uninspired choices when there are so much netter to choose from – Our pack will be very hard pressed, and Goode and Ellis will be mincement.
    In a nutshell – we will get stuffed off the pitch.

  12. what r u on about chris Ellis is emence proberly better than Care
    he is inventive and releases the ball quick

  13. Fakey, the RFU is about as far away from the ruthless impatience of Abramovich as you can get. It’s even worse in this case because Rob Andrew would resist a change because a natural consequence of him firing Johnno (after he broke the bank to get him and triumphantly proclaimed his certainty that Johnno would be the saviour) would be that he too would have to go. A silver lining perhaps.

    I don’t think anybody on this group is saying that Johnno has to go now, but unless we see a sharp improvement by the end of the 6N, it’s going to start looking inevitable.

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